lic·​o·​rice | \ ˈli-k(ə-)rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -k(ə-)rəs How to pronounce licorice (audio) \

Definition of licorice

1a : the dried root of a European leguminous plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers also : an extract of this used especially in medicine, liquors, and confectionery
b : a candy flavored with licorice or a substitute (such as anise)
2 : a plant yielding licorice also : a related plant

Examples of licorice in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Fennel seeds primarily taste of licorice, can be used whole or ground, and are the predominant spice in Italian sausage and a component of Chinese five-spice powder. Washington Post, "How to embrace fennel and add its subtle sweetness to your cooking," 26 Mar. 2021 Chronic Cellars, California, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018, $14.99 Twizzler / red licorice on the nose and palate, not a lot of tannins. Marc Bona, cleveland, "10 wines under $25 to consider in March," 14 Mar. 2021 Brambly fruit and a slight hint of licorice make this dense, velvety beauty an ideal accompaniment for roast dinners or stews with Asian spices. Amanda Schuster, Forbes, "Adventure In a Glass: All A-Boot Italian Wine," 12 Mar. 2021 Its clean, safe and proprietary formula combines papaya fruit, licorice root, green tea, aloe and rosa hybrid flower. Bianca Salonga, Forbes, "Get Ready For Spring And Summer With The Safest, Gentlest At-Home Skin Peels," 8 Apr. 2021 Read on to learn the health benefits and hazards of black licorice. Lauren Corona,, "Does black licorice have health benefits?," 15 Mar. 2021 Dark and murky, sweet yet bitter, the liqueur tastes of black licorice, made with herbal ingredients like chicory root and fresh peppermint. Alex Erdekian, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Brooklyn-Made Amari Takes Me Back to Italy," 3 Mar. 2021 Before serving, tie licorice into a tassel; top cake with tassel (see note, below). Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, "Mortarboard Chocolate Chip Ice-Cream Cake," 29 Mar. 2021 Smooth and full-bodied yet elegant, the savory, juicy palate delivers crushed Marasca cherry, raspberry preserve, licorice and menthol alongside polished, enveloping tannins. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, "9 ‘Perfect’ 100-Point Brunellos You Can Buy Right Now," 22 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'licorice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of licorice

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for licorice

Middle English licorice, from Anglo-French licoris, from Late Latin liquiritia, alteration of Latin glycyrrhiza, from Greek glykyrrhiza, from glykys sweet + rhiza root — more at dulcet, root

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Time Traveler for licorice

Time Traveler

The first known use of licorice was in the 13th century

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Statistics for licorice

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Licorice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for licorice



English Language Learners Definition of licorice

: a candy made from the dried root of a European plant


lic·​o·​rice | \ ˈli-kə-rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -rəs \

Kids Definition of licorice

1 : the dried root of a European plant or a juice from it used in medicine and in candy
2 : candy flavored with licorice


variants: or chiefly British liquorice \ ˈlik(-​ə)-​rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -​rəs How to pronounce licorice (audio) \

Medical Definition of licorice

1 : a European leguminous plant of the genus Glycyrrhiza (G. glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers
b : an extract of glycyrrhiza commonly prepared in the form of a gummy or rubbery paste

More from Merriam-Webster on licorice

Nglish: Translation of licorice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of licorice for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about licorice

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